Remember (R)

Suspense/Thriller 95 min. March 11, 2016
By Aaron Hillis
Much like the Oscar-winning Holocaust horror Son of Saul, Atom Egoyan's atypically linear revenge fantasy disingenuously evokes the ghastly legacy of Auschwitz as an artsploitation thriller. Working with first-time screenwriter Benjamin August, the Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter auteur's latest stars an unsurprisingly riveting Christopher Plummer as Zev, a feeble Jewish widower quietly suffering from dementia in an assisted-living home. Aided by a fellow resident and death-camp survivor (Martin Landau), Zev escapes on a multi-stop road trip -- Cleveland, Boise, Lake Tahoe, even Egoyan's native Canada -- to hunt for four emigrated Germans (including Jürgen Prochnow and Wings of Desire's Bruno Ganz), one of whom murdered his family a lifetime earlier.

His instructions have thankfully been written down, as the film's suspense is largely predicated on Zev's crippling memory loss (he writes "Read Letter" on his wrist in pen, as if Memento's self-tattooed, perpetually forgetful lead were instead senile). That affliction is punctuated in sound distortions from his panic-attacked POV; he flinches at the sight of a shower head, muffled screams echoing in his mind, and coat hangers in a department store are amplified cacophonously. Though it dodders engagingly at its antihero's pace, Remember is not subtle, from a bigot's police badge shining the same star shape of a yellow cloth patch to a guilt-ridden final twist that's still only half as preposterous as Sean Penn's Nazi-hunting glam rocker in This Must Be the Place.
Atom Egoyan Christopher Plummer, Dean Norris, Martin Landau, Henry Czerny, Bruno Ganz, Jürgen Prochnow, Sofia Wells, Peter DaCunha, Brendan Gall, Kim Roberts Benjamin August A24 Films

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